Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

I won't post cute pictures of David in his costume here, since he refused to put it on until well after dark and by then I was just too exasperated to take any decent pictures.

He was so cute when he finally did (it had to be his idea, and seeing other kids come to the door helped), and Cory braved the cold with him to do a little trick-or-treating. According to Cory, he proudly shouted "TRICK OR TREAT!" at each house (it drives me nuts when kids don't say it, so mine will), and made sure to say thank you. When they returned, David proudly showed me his candy and selected a packet of peanut M&Ms for a treat. He then greeted the few remaining kids that showed up at the door of our house for candy, and shouted "TRICK OR TREAT!" and "THANK YOU!" again while handing out candy, which was adorably cute.

The highlight of the day, however, was our morning pumpkin-carving session. I thought David would enjoy the experience immensely, but boy was I wrong.

At first, he was optimistic.

Then he watched as I started to saw away.

Finally, this series of pictures captures his evident disgust as the pumpkin guts made their appearance.

Shortly thereafter he gagged and shuddered, refused to participate, and retreated to the kitchen table to color while I spent a half-hour of my day off carving the same jack-o-lantern face as I have for the past five years all by myself on the kitchen floor.

Oh well, I tried.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is this how I actually look?

David is kind of picture obsessed. He loves looking at the photo stream on my iPhone, even chooses this over games on the rare occasion that I allow him to use it. He loves playing with his friend Kylie's kiddie camera, and has asked for one for himself. He might not be a fan of having his own picture taken at times, but he sure loves to look at the images.

The other day, David was pretending to take pictures with an old cell phone of mine. After seeing me with my DSLR which requires the photographer to look through the viewfinder in to compose the picture, he started imitating me holding it up to my face, and this was the result. By some miracle, I was ready with my own camera.

He kept saying "mommy taking pictures, mommy taking pictures". Even if this is how I actually do look when I'm shooting I'm not going to stop, simply because I manage to catch moments like this.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Doing the zoo

I ignored the predictions of the weather people and the reality of the radar this morning in order to keep my word to David. I told him last night, when the forecast was more favorable, that we would go to the zoo. Anxious to hold on to every last bit of summer, I couldn't imagine wasting a 78-degree and sunny day indoors. And with his new enthusiasm regarding anything animal related, he was giddy with anticipation. I couldn't disappoint him.

So we threw the umbrella in the car and headed downtown. When we arrived, the skies cleared for a bit, but then rain began falling again just as we walked in the gate and surrendered our tickets that were clearly marked with "no refunds, no pass outs allowed". We were committed.

So we started out with an indoor activity, the dolphin show, where David learned that dolphins sing, jump, and do tricks, and I learned never to take a two-year-old into a theater more than 5 minutes before the show starts. He did enjoy the heart of it, but spent the 15 minutes prior to the show attempting to run amuck, and the second half of the show begging to sit in the splash area. No way, I said, don't want to get wet. Little did I know that in a few minutes I would be quite wet anyway so that concern didn't really matter.

Forced by zoo rules to leave our stroller outside, we emerged from the theater to a drenching downpour and found it quite waterlogged. The cup holders looked more like rain gauges. I turned it over to drain before David climbed inside and we headed off to try to see some of the animals. The rain was letting up and I hoped that we might be able to salvage the day.

We walked deeper into the zoo grounds and headed out to the Plains exhibit. We barely made it to the giraffe area when the skies opened and DUMPED. It even hailed briefly as lightning crashed around us. We huddled under one of the kiosks as David yelled at me "see cows, see cows!" (he was insistent that this was the animal most worthy of his attention - come to find out that the Indianapolis Zoo doesn't even have farm animals anymore - this worried him more than the rolling thunder and the deluge). It was about the time that I discovered my DSLR was wet and would not power on that I decided this outing was about the worst idea ever.

But that was the turning point. We were both wet, but thankfully not cold, so why be scared of a little more rain? So even though the clouds didn't actually lift, our spirits did, and we ended up having a great day.

We had a lunch, pretty good for theme park standards, at the zoo's cafe. David ate great and looked over the map while he ate, planning what animals he wanted to see.

Then we headed back out to the Plains to see what we had missed earlier. The animals were really active and there was almost no one else there. I set up a series of self-timer shots at the cheetah exhibit (with my resurrected camera, it's condition improved at lunch along with my attitude) and I captured a wonderful moment as a cheetah unexpectedly approached us on the other side of the glass.  Look at David's face, especially in the second shot.  Priceless.

We went on to see elephants, lions, and rhinos. The giraffes weren't out due to the rain, so I consoled David by allowing him to run through a giant puddle (more like encouraging him, actually). Of course I spent the rest of the day backtracking and trying to explain that this is in fact not acceptable behavior. Oopsy.

Then we took a train ride. We were the only customers, but they took us anyway. David ate it up, especially the surprise close-up view he got of the giraffes eating hay. He was thrilled.

By the time we disembarked it was almost 1:30, and I was clearly pushing it as far as naps go. So we wandered toward the exit, hitting up a few final exhibits along the way. David's special request was to see bears, where we also met an odd young man that volunteered, unprompted, to take our picture. This picture cracks me up in so many ways - it looks like the bear wants to eat us, and David and I look concerned that the weird guy taking our picture might want to eat us, too. Neither actually happened, of course, and he didn't steal my camera either.  Phew!

Our final stop was the Oceans exhibit where David checked out lots of fish and water creatures, and even fearlessly touched a shark (which I didn't get a picture of because I needed both hands to prevent him from falling in there with them). He loved watching the seals, walruses, and dolphins swimming underwater.

I am so lucky to have days like this with David, just him and me, tourists in our own town. I know these days won't last forever, so I treasure each and every one of them.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Say Cheese, Please!

David has had a camera in his face pretty much from the moment he was born (and I mean that literally, thanks to Cory), so one might assume that he ignores the incessant clicking coming from my general direction, and just goes on with his day. This, unfortunately, is currently not the case.

Along with his recent developments in speech, social, and motor skills, he has gained a sense of independence that has empowered him to have (and express) an opinion on whether or not he would like to have his photo taken at any given time. Here are some examples.

When he doesn't refuse, I get the opposite, an enthusiastic "cheese, please!", and a squinting, toothy grin usually accompanied by a head-cock at some strange angle. This makes for ggreeeaaaaatttt pictures, as you can see here for yourself.

I've been taking an online photography class, and thanks to much I've learned lately (and a lens upgrade) I feel more capable of capturing the things in the way that I envision. Capable, of course, assuming a somewhat cooperative subject, which makes it even more frustrating for me when I get these kind of faces whilst trying to record the candid moments of our everyday lives. Cheesy faces are not a part of my photographic vision.

But then I remember, these cheesy faces and knitted brows are the candid moments of our everyday lives. David has a personality like no other, and no simple portrait could convey accurately how good-natured, emotionally labile, fun-loving, and enthusiastic he is about everything. These "imperfect" snapshots just might become my very favorites one day.

So, no matter the pose, protest, or cheesy face, I will continue to keep taking pictures.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Oktoberfest 2012

We couldn't wait for this event at Trader's Point Creamery to roll around again. David was just a little too small last year to enjoy the festivities, so we hoped that this year he would be able to be more of a participant. He was, and we had a ball.

First, of course, we had to see the cows. They were headed back to pasture one by one after milking, so we watched them pass by while standing in the feedlot.

A bit disappointed that they didn't offer pony rides this year, we settled for a hay ride around the farm instead. David was happy to sit on the straw bales and enjoy the view. My allergies were happy about this, too. Just kidding.

After the hayride, it was Kiddie Korner time. David chose out his very own first tattoo, a smiling cow for the top of his hand. A perfect fit for the event, and for a kid that begs to "see cows" on a regular basis. Tattoos are supposed to have meaning, right?

After the tattoo, we hit the hula-hoop and jump rope station. Who ever set up this little station knew what kids like better than I do because I never would have guessed something so simple would have been such a big hit.

Next it was craft time. And despite the fact that a few weeks ago he begged me NOT to do the craft at Barnes and Noble, he seemed to enjoy it this time (although these are some pretty serious faces shown here, there were some smiles involved).

Finally we hit the Biergarten to enjoy some Bavarian chili, frankfurters, roast pork, and German beer. We got David to eat the pork by telling him it was roast beef (which worked), but no dice on the chili. Baby steps.

After dinner, David could not resist dancing to Polka Boy, a very good and VERY LOUD (you guessed it) polka band that was playing at the event, and apparently has quite a following. David boogied like no one was watching, which was definitely not true since he is so darn cute. Lots of other people were dancing too, and the fun was infectious. You can't really tell but he is jiggling around here. Why didn't I video?!?!

Then it was time for ice cream.  You can't go to the creamery without ice cream! David had chocolate and Cory and I had vanilla. Yum

Finally, it wouldn't be Oktoberfest without checking out some pumpkins.

Then it was off to home without a fit, the way we all prefer it. We'll be back next year.... 

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